CARL COCKER

/Artist

“  A great tattoo is a statement, not a style. And getting it is a journey, not a destination "

 

My name is Carl Junior Cocker. I was born in Auckland, New Zealand. I grew up in Tonga, raised by my fathers’ parents whom I acknowledge and humbly pay my utmost respect too as they instilled in me the greatest principles and values on life that have helped shape who I am as a person.


I have developed a very sleek and sophisticated style of tattooing which in my eyes is unique. I have researched and taught myself many of the fundamental values of the traditional Tongan style however, my overall technique has been developed through many years spent abroad.


I discovered some of the Western Art traditions whilst attending some of my high school years in Fiji. In 2001 I was sent to Malaysia with my older brother King 'Afa to further our studies in Electrical Engineering, that being unsaid of completion, it also became a pivotal point in my life. There in Malaysia, 'Afa and I built a homemade machine from a sewing needle and a small motor. I experimented on myself first and then I started the practice of tattooing. I give credit to my first mentor, a Fillipino man by the name of Spec Ung whom was the greatest influence on my development as a tattooist. Spec appointed me as an apprentice during my time in Malaysia. His knowledge in sterilization and hygiene were beneficial in my development. Spec taught me the foundation of how to be a practitioner and a great tattooist.


From 2002 to 2003 I was in America, I continued tattooing and found that Polynesian designs were more in demand. In 2004 I settled back in Auckland and I worked with Inia Taylor at Moko Ink. I learned more about Maori art and discovered new techniques from both Inia and other International artists whom visited Inia's shop.


In 2006 I was privileged enough to be invited to Tahiti to attend the Tattoonesia Tattoo Festival. I was able to meet other Tattoo artists from across the globe and sight what they had to show. Not only had it helped me understand the industry better it gave me guidance and broaden my knowledge for the many future Tattoo conventions that I've been fortunate enough to participate in. Realising I was also the youngest member at my very first Tattoo convention, it was an honour to receive an award recognition for my work. This being said, it also became one of the many important stepping stones throughout my journey as a tattoo artist.


Occasionally I'm asked to tattoo clients with Western or custom designs however, my preference is for Polynesian designs as I consider this the field that enhances my own signature style. A hobby that I admired growing up as a little boy became an important part of my life, an adventure I love so much so, that I decided to make a career out of it. I only hope and dream to one day soon see more of the Tongan tatatau or tattooing being practiced professionally worldwide by Tongan tattoo artists. In doing this not only are we recognizing the work performed in the past by our great ancestors but at the same time we are paving the way for our future generation.


Malo 'Aupito
 

© 2014 by Kalia Tattoo.


 

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